Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park should be open by July 1, park officials announced Thursday.
Heavy rainfall in November 2006 that caused numerous washouts delayed opening of the entire Sun Road this year.
Final repairs from last November’s washouts are being made east of Logan Pass to allow two-way vehicle access across the alpine section of
the road. Recently discovered storm damage just west of Logan Pass has been stabilized to allow vehicle traffic but actual repairs will be delayed
until fall, park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt said. The Federal Highway Administration made over $7 million available to the the National Park Service for the repair of road damage.
Moderate snow pack and mild spring weather enabled crews to build a 350-foot retaining wall just below the east tunnel that required the building of a mechanically stabilized earthen wall. The roadway across the retaining wall site will be paved this week, Vanderbilt said.
Also, a temporary bridge is being installed to span a section of the Sun Road where both lanes were washed out in the November 2006
storm. This washout will be rebuilt this summer or fall underneath the bridge. The temporary bridge will be removed prior to the onset of winter, Vanderbilt said.
Once the alpine section of the Sun Road opens across the Continental Divide at Logan Pass (elevation 6, 646 feet), visitors may travel the entire
50-mile National Historic Landmark road between St. Mary and West Glacier. Prior to the opening of the alpine section of roadway, visitors could
travel 43 miles of the entire scenic roadway.
July 1 through Labor Day, Glacier National Park’s new shuttle system will provide free transportation to locations along the road, and between Fish Creek Campground and Apgar Village locations. On the Lake McDonald Valley route, 12-person buses will run every 15 minutes between stops. On the St. Mary and Apgar routes, larger buses will run every 30 minutes. The last buses will leave Logan Pass at 9:30 p.m. to both St. Mary Visitor Center and the new Apgar Transit Center, which will also open July 1.
Glacier National Park Superintendent Mick Holm said the shuttles will provide an alternative for travelers driving the Sun Road. The shuttles are being implemented as part of the park’s program to minimize impacts on park visitors throughout the eight- to 10-year Sun Road rehabilitation, which began this summer.
With the opening of the entire Sun Road on the morning of July 1, parking and rest room facilities will be available at Logan Pass. The Logan Pass Visitor
Center will also open for the season. Trails in the Logan Pass area are currently covered by snow. The popular Highline Trail is being
evaluated this week for snow hazard and damage from last fall’s storm, Vanderbilt said.
This is one of the latest openings of the entire Sun Road. The latest opening of the entire Sun Road was July 10, 1943, when the road was allowed to melt out, rather than be plowed. In recent years, the latest opening of Logan Pass was June 28, 2002, after a record eight feet of snow fell between
May 22 and June 10. The earliest Logan Pass opening to motorized traffic occurred on May 16, 1987.
Park roads are open for vehicle traffic; however, a portion of the unimproved Inside North Fork Road along the park’s northwest edge remains
closed to vehicle use between Fish Creek and Logging Creek due to road damage.
On the Web: www.nps.gov/glac
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